Washington, Apr 14: The Indian Army will train Afghanistan's army in counterinsurgency operations, Stratfor, the US news intelligence service, has said in its latest report.
It described the move as a sign of growing alliance between India and Afghanistan that "threatened" Pakistan. It said that Afghanistan might also be considering sending its air force pilots for training to India. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) could also use the increased interest in Indian involvement in counter-terrorism with Afghanistan as leverage against Pakistan to rein in militants on its soil, the Daily Times quoted the Stratfor report as saying.
It further said that India and Afghanistan were pushing the idea that the faster India trains the Afghan Army, the quicker NATO can withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
According to the US intelligence service, India's goal was to gain a toehold in the Afghan military establishment, creating goodwill that it could cash in when the time comes.
"This prospect is worrisome to Pakistan. New Delhi's key interest in Afghanistan has to do with its security vis-a-vis Pakistan, and the trans-national Islamist militant groups believed to be based there. Long before the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan during the 1980s, Islamabad viewed Kabul as aligned with New Delhi, Stratfor points out," it added.
The report further said: "Pakistan felt sandwiched between its archrival to the east and a hostile regime to the west. Another issue was secular left-leaning Pakistani Pashtun forces were pushing for a separate homeland for their ethnic group - a demand backed by Afghanistan in those days. To deal with these threats, the Pakistanis decided to employ the Islamist card to counter Pashtun nationalism on both sides of the Durand Line."